Lemony Shortcakes with Strawberries and Blueberries

The lemon custard can be made in advance, and will keep in the fridge for a week, say Roll and Soriano, adding: “Use as much or as little of the recipe components as you like, and place them in any order that you like. Much like Ventura County, this dessert is casual and open to interpretation.” Editor’s Note: Store-bought lemon curd can be substituted for the Lemon Custard in the recipe.

Photography By Kristin Teig | February 27, 2017

Preparation

Lemony Shortcakes

Preheat oven to 375°. Sift dry ingredients into a mixer bowl. Slowly pour heavy cream into bowl while mixing. Add optional lemon zest or extract. Be careful not to overwork/mix.

Turn onto lightly floured surface and pull together (closing gaps). Press/roll into ¾-inch thick rectangle. Cut into 3-inch diameter circles. Re-work scraps to create final circles.

Brush tops with beaten egg white and sprinkle with sanding sugar. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes, until golden brown.

Lemon Custard

Place lemon juice, sugar and eggs in large saucepan. Place saucepan over medium heat and whisk. Once mixture has slightly thickened, slowly add in the butter. Keep whisking until the custard coats the back of the metal spoon. Once custard has reached desired consistency, remove from heat and strain into medium bowl. Let cool before placing in fridge.

Light Lemon Custard (optional)

Fold whipping cream and lemon custard together in medium bowl. Fold until homogenous. Place in fridge until needed.

Blueberry Syrup

Place water, lemon juice, lemon zest, cinnamon and sugar in medium sauce pan over high heat and bring to boil. Add blueberries.

Turn heat down to medium and let simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and place in food processor for about 1 minute. Place mixture back in saucepan and bring to boil over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, or until syrup-like consistency is reached. Run mixture through strainer and let cool.

Poached Blueberries

Bring water and sugar to boil. Add blueberries. Turn heat down to medium. Allow blueberries to poach for 1 minute. Carefully remove blueberries from water and let rest in small bowl until needed.

Strawberries

Combine strawberries and sugar in a bowl. Let stand for approximately 30 minutes.

To Assemble

Once shortcakes have cooled, use a fork to gently split them apart. Place one shortcake bottom on a plate or in a small bowl. Place a spoonful of Lemon Custard over the shortcake. Place a generous scoop of strawberries next. Add a generous scoop of whipped cream or Light Lemon Custard. Place the shortcake top.

Finish shortcake by placing Poached Blueberries around the dish and drizzle with Blueberry Syrup. Top with whipped cream or Light Lemon Custard, if desired.

About this recipe

Recipe courtesy of chef and co-owner Suzanne Roll and pastry chef Max Soriano Jr. of Suzanne’s Cuisine in Ojai.

Ventura County’s signature dish: “My mind (and taste buds) immediately leapt to citrus. Citrus has long reigned queen over Ojai and Ventura County. The bounty of lemons, oranges and tangerines has been enjoyed by generations. But what about strawberries? Aren’t they our largest crop? Naturally, my sweet tooth decided that a shortcake combining these two great flavors would make a simple, but delicious dessert that could be enjoyed by all. We added some poached blueberries to our shortcakes. Poached or fresh, it’s fun to include a newcomer to our Ventura County ag landscape.”

—Sandra Moore, co-owner of Suzanne’s Cuisine in Ojai, which opened in 1992

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Ingredients

Lemony Shortcakes
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 cups heavy cream (scant cups so more like 1⅞ cups)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest or ½ teaspoon lemon extract (optional)
  • 1 egg white, beaten and sanding sugar (or other decorative sugar) for the top
Lemon Custard
  • 1 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1¾ cups sugar
  • 6 eggs (room temperature)
  • ½ cup butter, cut into pieces
Light Lemon Custard (optional)
  • 8 ounces freshly whipped cream
  • 5 ounces lemon custard
Blueberry Syrup
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest
  • Pinch cinnamon
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup blueberries
Poached Blueberries
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 8 cups water
  • 1½ cups blueberries
Strawberries
  • 1 pound strawberries, quartered
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
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